Vital Signs

Not Afraid Of Death, But Not Allowed To Die

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she had already run to get help and had just returned. She told me latter she thought I had died.


Both times that I returned from the other world I explained in detail what I had experienced to the first people I saw. As a little girl I was told that the whole event was never to be spoken of. This time, the counselor told me of others who had given accounts of some of the same things I’d described, but she could not explain why it happened to me, under the circumstances.

I can tell you that this last experience changed the course of my life. How I see myself, how I perceive life, mine and that which exists around me. I find myself honoring the totality of my life to this date, good and bad. It took every moment for me to know what I know and be able to do good with it. That life is a gift. I am here inasmuch as I have been given the opportunity to experience, and to grow. And with that, to always make my best effort to give the best of myself to all those I can in the span of my lifetime. To understand and accept that I cannot escape fallibility, nor can anyone else. Because in it I learn the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, and finally, love and hatred. That when I know the difference, my choice will define life.

I don’t know what those souls in the dark place had done to be there, or what will happen to them eventually, if anything. In my own judgment, I know that I already have and will commit enough pain in this lifetime that I too should be convicted to that place. But I also know that God knows me, as well as all of my life choices, and the consequences they created. And still he has promised me that I would return to him someday, in the light!

Michellenea Futrell raises her family and runs a small business in southern Illinois.

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